The St. Louis Cardinals have missed the postseason the last two seasons. Here are five New Year’s Resolutions that can return them to the playoff picture in 2018.
Baseball pundits have thoroughly documented the regression of the St. Louis Cardinals since their most recent World Series triumph in 2011. It’s all too easy to identify: World Series win in 2011, NLCS loss in 2012, World Series loss in 2013, NLCS loss in 2014, NLDS loss in 2015, 2nd place and no postseason in 2016, and, most recently, 3rd place and no postseason in 2017.
October baseball defines the St. Louis Cardinals. It’s the lowest barometer the city sets for the home team. Although the Cardinals’ playoff drought has reached a meager two seasons, the longer, downward trend of the team during the current decade should create more reason for concern.
Mounted frustration among fans and Cardinals’ brass has prompted a commitment to improve this offseason, and they have added impact players to their roster.
“It’s a familiar thing now if it’s back-to-back years. It’s not unfamiliar anymore because it’s back-to-back seasons.” Tommy Pham on missing the postseason
Marcell Ozuna instantly becomes the Redbirds’ best weapon in the lineup. Miles Mikolas should fit in nicely in the starting rotation. Luke Gregerson is now one of Mike Mathney’s better late-inning options out of the bullpen.
Nevertheless, adding players can only do so much for a team. The Cardinals must consider what has gone awry in previous seasons, especially the last two where they failed to qualify for the postseason.
In 2016 the issues were evident. Poor baserunning, a lack of fundamentals on defense, too much reliance on home runs, and, perhaps most alarming, the team couldn’t win at Busch Stadium.
In 2017, many of the same issues plagued the Redbirds. The baserunning left much to be desired, the defense was better, but still not great, the bullpen often faltered, and instead of boasting an excess of power on offense, the lineup lacked a true impact bat in the middle of the order.
A combination of analyzing the past and building for the future could vault the Cardinals from a downward trend to the middle of the playoff hunt in 2018. If all goes as planned, St. Louis could even compete with the Chicago Cubs to reclaim Central Division superiority.
With that in mind, here are five New Year’s resolutions that can help the Cardinals get there: